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Pen Rhos pupils give Wellness Centre thumbs up

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PUPILS and staff at Llanelli’s newest school have given the plans for a Life Science and Well-being Village in Llanelli a resounding thumbs-up.

Following a consultation exercise, the pupils of Ysgol Pen Rhos said the £200 million Delta Lakes development will boost local young people’s aspirations because of the high-quality jobs that will be created.

A state-of-the-art leisure centre is among the plans for the Village, which will be located very close to new Ysgol Pen Rhos building which is nearing completion at the former Draka site on Copperworks Road.

Due to replace Lakefield Primary School and the Copperworks Infant and Nursery School, the new school building is being delivered through Carmarthenshire Council’s Modernising Education Programme, with funding via the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools initiative.

Helen Morgans, Ysgol Pen Rhos Deputy Head Teacher,  said: “This is an exciting time for Ysgol Pen Rhos. Our new school building will give current and future pupils a 21st Century learning environment and experience, with the Life Science and Well-being Village set to develop very close by.

“As a school, we’re 100% behind the Village because it will improve Llanelli, create more local employment and raise young people’s aspirations. We’re also an Attachment Aware School where nurturing groups are in place to support children who have experienced trauma, so we’re very supportive of the project’s focus on well-being.

“Many children from years five and six took part in a consultation exercise about the project late last year, where they were able to give feedback on what they’d like to see included on the site.”

The Village scheme is being led by Carmarthenshire Council, in partnership with Swansea University, the Hywel Dda University Health Board and the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The development is also part of the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal programme, which includes 11 major projects across Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire. Work is progressing with the Welsh and UK Governments to develop the bid to secure a £40 million investment for the Life Science and Well-being Village as part of this programme.

Ysgol Pen Rhos will be a new dual stream, bilingual primary, offering education through English or Welsh to children between three and 11.

Among the pupils’ ideas for the Village site were a swimming pool, health services for the elderly and vulnerable, and landscaped spaces for recreation and activities. These features will all be included, along with business and research opportunities, education and assisted living accommodation.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire Council Leader, said: “It’s extremely encouraging that the children and staff at Ysgol Pen Rhos are so enthused about the Life Science and Well-being Village. This project will give the local economy a £467 million boost and create up to 2,000 well-paid jobs over 15 years, so it’s important not just to Llanelli, but to Carmarthenshire and the Swansea Bay City Region as a whole.

“Subject to planning approvals, work on the project is anticipated to start at the end of 2018, with the first phase earmarked for opening in 2021. Sustainability will be at the heart of the scheme, with an emphasis on ensuring the development is in keeping with the character of the nearby area.”

Like all projects being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal, the Village will benefit from a skills and talent initiative that will give local people opportunities to access the high-value jobs that will be created.

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Lifeline for cockle-gathers could be on the way after Llangennech rail crash

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Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones has raised the impact on cockle-gathers of the Llangennech derailment last year.

She received an assurance from the First Minister that the Welsh Government was looking at way to help the cockle industry.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister, Helen Mary Jones MS said:

“In the Senedd I congratulated the public services for the way they co-operated around the clean-up after the Llangennech derailment, which, so far, has been very successful. I demanded a life-line scheme to help the cockle gathers.

“I raised with the First Minister issues for two groups of businesses particularly badly affected in the short-term by the derailment. 

“One of those was the very important cockle-gathering industry, the other, of course, were farmers who graze animals on those low-lying banks by the river. 

“There has been a request for the Welsh Government to consider whether some interim financial support might be made available to the cockle gatherers and the grazers while responsibility for the derailment and long-term compensation becomes a possibility. Many of these are small businesses; they operate on quite low margins and currently in difficult circumstances.

“The First Minister emphasised he was aware of the impact on cockle gatherers and particularly that they were unable to carry out their normal activities while the level of environmental contaminants in the estuary were being surveyed.

“Plaid Cymru believes it must be the polluter in the end that must pay for the damage that has been caused, but the rail accident investigation branch work is not coming to a conclusion quickly.

“The Welsh Government is expecting to receive advice in the next few days whether or not it is possible to devise a scheme through the Welsh Government in which some interim assistance to those industries could be supplied.

“The Welsh Government is keen to obtain that advice from officials in case it is possible, before the rail accident investigation is completed, so they can offer some assistance to those who have been most directly affected.”

The environmental impact of the Llangennech derailment last year was amongst the most significant in Wales since the Sea Empress disaster of 25 years ago. 

Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation will continue for many years to come.

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UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery

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LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.

Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.

They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:

• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures

Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:  

“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”

“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”

Lee Waters MS said:

“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”

“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”

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Search for Susan Smith continues

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THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.

Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”

“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.

Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”

Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.

She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.

Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.

Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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